New leader takes on big philanthropy goals

I Live Here I Give Here Courtney Manuel

Running the 24-hour giving day Amplify Austin has not gotten any easier. The nonprofit behind it, I Live Here, I Give Here, has had six years of practice, but with each year’s goal met, the bar is set higher, and every giving day is just one technology glitch from disaster.

PHOTO: Lindsay Muse, new executive director Courtney Manuel, and Chelsea Toller-Hoffmann of I Live Here, I Give Here at the Philanthropy Day luncheon on February 14, 2019. 

Running the 24-hour giving day Amplify Austin has not gotten any easier. The nonprofit behind it, I Live Here, I Give Here, has had six years of practice, but with each year’s goal met, the bar is set higher, and every giving day is just one technology glitch from disaster.

With this year’s Amplify Austin happening February 28 to March 1, the goal is $11 million, almost a million dollars more than was raised in 2018. But I Live Here, I Give Here’s new executive director, Courtney Manuel, says she trusts her team’s experience to pull of another Amplify day. Her job, she says, is to take it a step further. “We have this amazing platform with Amplify Austin,” said Manuel, “so let’s continue to connect that with the nonprofits that need it most.”

Manuel, whose first day at I Live Here, I Give Here was January 22, had spent the previous six years leading fundraising for the Dell Medical School at UT-Austin, building that department from scratch and raising more than $200 million. For her, there are a lot of parallels between the two roles. “What attracted me to Dell Medical School was the fact that I was raising money for an institution that in perpetuity would provide greater health benefits for the city I live in and my children live in,” she said, “Now to be in a position where I could help influence the mission to make Austin the most philanthropic city in the country is an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Hitting that mark is the long-term goal set by the I Live Here, I Give Here board, but Austin has a long way to go to get there. In the most recent ranking of philanthropic cities, the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that Austin ranked 33rd, far behind San Antonio and even farther behind, Houston and Dallas, which ranked in the top five.  

One way to get closer to that goal may be to reconsider who a philanthropist is. Ruben Cantu, an I Live Here, I Give Here board member and part of UT-Austin’s division of diversity and community engagement said, “I Live Here, I Give Here’s goal is to increase the generosity of every Austinite regardless of backgrounds. My biggest advice for Courtney’s success in this new role is to not be timid, to speak up when we need to speak up for historically overlooked communities. And that is how we will help become the most generous city.”

For right now, though, Manuel’s biggest challenge will be leading her team toward that $11 million fundraising goal.  Lisa Trahan is vice president of communications for St. David’s Foundation, which supports Amplify Austin with a $1 million matching gift says Manuel is in for a treat. “We hope Courtney has a new pair of running shoes to get her through the 24-hour marathon of giving.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign Up! Sign up for free weekly or monthly updates

Always know what's happening in Austin's nonprofit and social good community. Sign up for one of our newsletters! 

SUBSCRIBE